Regardless of ethnicity, religion, or nationality, all humans have some ceremonies or events to honor their community’s deceased loved ones. We have an innate urge to keep hold of a part of them within us and our community, keeping them alive for just that much longer this way.
However, not everybody knows instinctively how this honoring might take place. Many people are stuck in the uncomfortable and sometimes desperate situation of wanting to pay respects to and remember their deceased loved ones without knowing how it would be most appropriate, touching, or creative.
In this article, my aim is to provide you with a couple of ways to honor the people you lost, this way making it easier for you to decide on the method, and thus focus more on remembering the individual. If you are looking for creative and touching ideas, read on!
Make a Memorial Video
A picture is worth a thousand words, and a motion picture is arguably worth even more. Making a video about a deceased loved one can be an incredibly hard and painful process, so make sure you don’t push yourself beyond your comfort zone.
Memorial videos can, for a couple of minutes, bring the deceased individual back to life, at least on the screen. If you happen to have some videos of the person, you can add some of their happiest moments or funniest ones, the ones you know they really enjoyed or loved.
Videos can be as long or short as you see fit, which makes them great options since you can adjust them to your personal or group liking. Also, if the person the video is about loved documentaries, for example, you can try making it a documentary-styled video for a creative, yet very touching twist.
Making donations is a fantastic act, regardless of the reason. However, if you do it to honor a deceased loved one, it makes it even better. It is one of the best ways to pay respect to the deceased since it actually contributes something to people who are in need.
Donating to any trustworthy charity is great, but there are two ways to go about donating which make the gesture even better.
One of them is to donate to a charity which deals with issues that might have affected your deceased friend or family member or perhaps even caused their passing away. Charities that fight cancer, that fight drunk driving, or whatever the relevant topic and issue might be are some of the most common in this category.
The other touching way to decide on the charity to donate to is to take some time to think about what charity the deceased individual might have chosen. If they were a climate activist, you can donate towards green charities, for example. This way, it kind of feels like they are making an impact on the planet, even if they aren’t physically here.
In the same spirit as the previous recommendation, volunteering can also be an incredible way to not only honor the deceased but also make a change while doing so. It is definitely more time-consuming than donating or maybe even than making a memorial video, but for those people out there who have some free time, it is an option well worth exploring.
Similarly, as with donating, the best way to volunteer would either be to do so in an organization that counters some issue that the individual might have faced in life, or in an organization that the deceased individual believed, or would have believed in.
If you don’t have such an option, you can also choose an organization that just fights for a good cause and volunteer, since even if the aim of the organization doesn’t have a connection with the individual, it is still a great way to show respect and to give back.
Write a Letter
One of the things all people with a deceased loved one mention is how there are always things they would have told them if they had more time. Either love wasn’t adequately expressed, a secret was withheld which shouldn’t have been, or something similar. A creative and deep way to partially deal with this is also one of the best ways to honor the individual: by writing a letter.
There are many reasons why writing a letter to a deceased loved one is a great way to honor them, and why it is also beneficial for you.
First of all, letters like these are completely open and honest. They are private letters (usually), and they contain things that are otherwise not often expressed. They are raw and real. Being able to strip down to that stage and write onto a piece of paper things so important and so deep is something you would only do for someone who you truly miss from your life.
It is also great therapy in some sense. Just talking about emotions, experiences, and ideas can help with dealing with them. The same, if not better, goes for writing about them. When writing, you structure out your otherwise messy thoughts, and you clarify things that otherwise you maybe couldn’t have.
This leads to a clearer conscience and a clearer head when it comes to the whole situation. It might clear up some issues you might have had with the person, it might express otherwise suppressed love and admiration, or have one of a million different effects. Whichever one you have, it is very likely you are going to learn a lot about yourself and the person from it.
We open up to people who we trust and love, so even this symbolic opening up to the deceased individual can be a powerful way to honor their memories.
Organize a Birthday Party
Throwing a birthday party is another way of honoring a deceased loved one, may that be a friend or family member. Not all memorials have to be solemn, peaceful, and sophisticated to show honor, especially not if that was not the type of person being remembered.
One of the most touching ways to remember someone is by doing something they always wanted to do or just liked doing regularly. Something that reflects their personality and their ambitions, and in this way keeps their ghost alive for just that much longer.
Birthday parties are a form of a similar idea. If you have a deceased friend who you know would’ve never consented to a sad birthday memorial, in their respect, a birthday party would be one of the best ways to celebrate it.
These parties don’t have to be the traditional, high-volume, happy, and bubbly events they usually are, but it might be a bittersweet, profound experience to remember someone by celebrating aside from mourning.
Do Something Adventurous
Following some of the previous lines of thought, going on an adventure as a positive and creative way to honor a deceased loved one on their birthday is also an amazing idea.
As mentioned earlier, doing something productive or positive aside from mourning is usually the best if the activity done is something that is in some way connected to the ambitions and personality of the one being honored.
In this case, if you happen to have a deceased sibling, friend, parent, or similarly close person, who you know loved adventure or has gone with you on some, going on an adventure would be a touching tribute to their memory.
This can be a country road bike ride, exploring a town or city you haven’t been to, going hiking without a map, or anything that the person you are remembering might have found interesting and exciting.
A birthday is a special occasion, so a special way of paying respect and honoring a loved one who has passed away, such as an adventure, is perfect.
Host a Dinner
Dinners are usually the setting for much of the slightly deeper conversation in a household, and this can also provide room for an appropriate memorial of a deceased person on their birthday.
The social aspect of this idea is what really makes it a good one, since the people sitting at the dinner table will probably have had memories and experiences with the person being remembered, which makes for a moving celebration and a touching conversation about the individual.
People can share stories about the person, or just talk about them and process their loss, which then also shares the pain between the individuals, making it easier to cope. It is the perfect place to open up and have some honest, therapeutic conversation, or perhaps a cheerful one, depending on the context and situation.
At the same time, multiple people organizing a dinner with the common goal to honor an individual who has sadly passed away is an event that would surely be more than appreciated. It is a way to show that not only you as a person, but a whole group of people sorely miss the individual and care for them, and in this way honor their memory.
A great added touch to this idea is cooking something that the individual loved. That way, you can feel even closer to the memory of the deceased, and make the “ceremony” all the more special and touching. Food is something that deeply connects humans, and that connection doesn’t have to stop with the passing away of a loved one.
Get a Present for Their Family
When a loved one who isn’t a close family member passes away, a great way to show support and to honor the individual’s memory is by giving their family a creative and touching gift.
These gifts are also best if they are personal and creative, and not your typical glass of wine or package of chocolate. A CD or USB with a memorial video on it is not a bad idea. If you are into painting or drawing, you could create something either symbolically or explicitly depicting or associating to the individual.
There are hundreds and thousands of possibilities since it is a very personal gift, which is also based on the personality of the deceased one and maybe even the circumstances of the tragic event.
These gifts are really moving and touching, because first of all, they are really personal. Second of all, it shows the family of the deceased how they aren’t the only ones who lost the person, but that they had friends who miss them sorely. It is perhaps one of the best ways of honoring the individual.
Plant Something in their Honor
Plants like trees and flowers represent life, love, and beauty in many ways. For a touching and inspiring tribute to a deceased loved one, planting a tree, some flowers, or perhaps even vegetables can be a great idea.
This again is best done if the plant you will choose to honor their birthday is one they specifically liked. For example, a friend of mine whose dad passed away recently, planted a peach tree on his deceased dad’s birthday, since that was his favorite fruit and fruit tree.
Roses, tulips, narcissus, and other flowers are often favorites of women, so planting a bush or some individual flowers can be a great way to remember them.
Also, there is something metaphorical and magical about planting something in a deceased person’s honor, since you keep feeding and nurturing the plant, the same way as you do with the memory of the individual. Over time, when the pain passes away, the memory becomes more and more positive and beautiful, just like a plant that grows beautifully.
This symbolic action of nurturing a plant and raising it with love is also an amazing way to deal with your own feelings after a loved one passes away. It can help formulate positive and beautiful thoughts instead of depressed, lonely, or desperate memories.